Memories of the future: an essay on hope and fear

Spring 2015

This article seeks to understand how moments of great change come about, through a focus on the major moments of change in the twentieth century that affected the author’s own family members. It argues that when we are trying to think about the next two decades, reflecting on the past seventy-five years can be instructive. Can we make a pattern out of a century of experience in Britain that can guide our thinking? At the moment we are living through a period of turbulence comparable to what was experienced during the two main moments of rupture discussed in the article _ the beginning (second world war) and end (onset of Thatcherism) of the postwar consensus. Is there an opportunity now to create a new settlement as the old order is crumbling?

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